Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sanders versus Clinton tonight once more, and the superdelegates

Tonight's debate, moderated by PBS NewsHour anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, will be simulcast on CNN and NPR and stream live on  [...] 

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton meet Thursday night on a debate stage in Milwaukee. It will be their first face-to-face matchup since Tuesday's New Hampshire primary where Sanders beat Clinton by more than 20 points. 
PBS is a non-commercial network that doesn't live and die by ratings quite the way CNN or NBC does. The NewsHour, anchored by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, is known for lengthy, thoughtful interviews and stories that dig deep. It seems quite likely that sensibility will change the types of questions that are asked. This could be good news for Democratic voters who haven't yet seen the candidates get beyond sound bite answers in debates on issues like criminal justice reform and immigration.

Lots of Clinton folks mocking out the Sanders people about their superdelegate quandary.  When I need the highest douchebaggery, I know that Ted will always be there.

"Not a Democrat".  (False.) "Party's rules don't change." (False.)  And so on like that.  It's all over my social media in the wake of their candidate's tie in Iowa and her crushing defeat in New Hampshire (in which she will still take away the most delegates).  There is no hint of irony in all of this, but a lot of sneering condescension.

Sanders has so far carried, by large majorities, young people -- who don't typically turn out -- and independents, whom a candidate must have in order to win a general election.  These voters have not been attracted to the Democratic Party in the past, and won't be in the future, particularly if these insults against them continue.  And the highest insult is going to be the conduct of the superdelegates.

Superdelegates only came into existence following the defeats of George McGovern in '72 and Jimmy Carter in '80, and not implemented until '84... and the blowout loss of Walter Mondale.  So it would seem that the elite Democrats do no better at selecting the nominee than they perceive the plebians to be.

By 1982, however, the sentiment was essentially that the cure (1972, "validated" by 1980) was worse than the disease (1968).

Since at least that time (I would assert the problem goes back to the selection of Harry Truman over Henry Wallace for vice-president in 1944), Democrats have cowered in fear at the thought of another standard-bearer who represents what the Democratic Party used to represent.  (This primer from almost exactly eight years ago is instructive.)  As more current evidence, simply look at Texas superdelegates, i.e. predominantly Democratic elected officials and donors -- aka the only moderate Republicans left on Earth -- lining up early to support the establishment candidate.  As a result, I won't be able to endorse any Democrat who is a superdelegate that has already come out in support of Hillary Clinton.  This failure to remain neutral while the people decide who they wish to represent them is no longer acceptable.  It's not democratic; those people were elected to serve us in their respective legislatures and executive officees, not to pick our president for us.  (That's another preview of my forthcoming post on how you should consider casting your ballot in the Texas primary.)  Martin Longman of Booman Tribune and Washington Monthly further details why the superdelegates will derail, and not cross over to, Sanders ... which I covered last June.

I get so tired of explaining to Democrats why they actually lose elections.

And with respect to the tussle over the votes of people of color, that is a very vigorous conversation being had as well.  It will determine the success or failure of the Sanders revolution.  The only two excerpts you need ...

"He's speaking our language," said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). Butterfield, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, was on his way into the CBC's weekly meeting on Capitol Hill when he spoke with The Root. 
When asked whether he thought Sanders' critique was a broadside attack on President Obama's legacy, Butterfield emphatically said that he didn't think the criticism was directed at the president.  
"It's just political discourse," he said, smiling.

But there are clearly some feathers being ruffled. 

And ...

(Rep. Gregory) Meeks said that 90 percent of the 20-member board of the (Congressional Black Caucus)’s PAC voted to endorse Clinton, while none of the board members voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders and a few members abstained because they had not yet endorsed in the race. 
On the neutral list was Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C.), the No. 3 House Democratic leader and  the most prominent South Carolina Democrat, who has since then said he is considering backing a candidate and that candidate, he suggested, is likely to be Clinton. 
“That was certainly my intention,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post of his initial plan to remain neutral. “But I am re-evaluating that. I really am having serious conversations with my family members.”

I'll be watching and Tweeting tonight with all of this as the backdrop.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Clicking through one of your links, we get an oops.

Contra Clintonistas, Bernie HAS been a fundraiser for Senate Dems before.

The oops?

At Martha's Vineyard, as in swank/posh.

With banksters there.

Other parts of his past are going to get a more critical look.

As you know, some of this is going to be "gotcha," but some, like Nader holding oil stocks in 2000, is going to be more serious.